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During 2002–2005, 15,600 people under 20 years of age were newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually in the United States.1 Classification of diabetes (American Diabetes Association) is shown in Table 218-1.2,3

Table 218-1 Etiologic Classification of Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by almost no circulating insulin and the failure of β-cells to respond to insulinogenic stimuli. This accounts for only 5% to 10% of all cases of diabetes and is mostly diagnosed in children and young adults, with peaks before school age and at puberty. Immune-mediated destruction of β-cells causes 90% of these cases, and the remainder have no known cause. Spontaneous ketoacidosis almost always develops in untreated cases, and insulin is required for survival. It is often not possible to clearly classify patients as type 1 or type 2 in the ED.3

Chapter 219 discusses type 2 diabetes mellitus in detail. Hyperglycemia is present in all types of diabetes mellitus and is the main factor responsible for complications. Therefore, maintaining euglycemic control is the cornerstone of management.

The American Diabetes Association criteria for diagnosis are listed in Table 218-2.2,3 Any one of these can be used to make the diagnosis. Patients with a fasting plasma glucose of 100 milligrams/dL to 125 milligrams/dL (5.6-7.0 mmol/L), a hemoglobin A1C of 5.7% to 6.4%, or a 2-hour plasma glucose of 140 to 199 milligrams/dL (7.8-11.0 mmol/L) as part of an oral glucose tolerance test are classified as having prediabetes.2

Table 218-2 American Diabetes Association Criteria for the Diagnosis of Diabetes

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